Today in History · Women in History

Women in History: March 20th



1985 – Libby Riddles was the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Born on this day in…

1469 – Cecily of York (d. 1507), daughter of Edward IV of York and Queen Elizabeth Woodville. As a child, she was styled Princess Scots by virtue of her betrothal to James IV of Scotland. The betrothal was later cancelled. She was the younger sister of Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII.

1612 – Anne Bradstreet (d. 1672) was the first female North American Poet. English-born, Ms. Bradstreet emigrated to North America in 1630 and wrote poetry that was popular across the Atlantic Sea in England. On Queen Elizabeth, she wrote:

Her Victories in foreign Coasts resound?

Ships more invincible than Spain’s, her foe

She rack’t, she sack’d, she sunk his Armadoe.

Her stately Troops advanc’d to Lisbon’s wall,

Don Anthony in’s right for to install.

She frankly help’d Franks’ (brave) distressed King,

The States united now her fame do sing.

1879 – Maud Menten (d. 1960) was a Canadian physician scientist who was the first woman to earn a medical doctorate in Canada. Ms. Menten made contributions to histochemistry and enzyme kinetics. In a time when women weren’t around to do research in Canada, she was forced to do research in the United States and Germany.

1888 – Amanda Clement (d. 1971) was an American woman who served as an umpire in baseball and a referee in basketball. She was the first woman to be paid to work as an umpire. Ms. Clement was a Congregationalist thus refusing to umpire on Sundays.

1915 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe (d. 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. Ms. Tharpe was popular for her gospel recordings which stylistically were a forerunner for rock and roll. She was called “the Godmother of Rock and Roll.”

1917 – Vera Lynn is an English singer, songwriter, and actress who was known for her popular recordings and performances during World War II. In 2000, she was given the appellation of “Briton who best exemplifies the spirit of the 20th century.” She has been very involved in charity.

Died on this day in…

1688 – Maria of Orange-Nassau, a princess of the house of Orange (b. 1642) died. In 1666, Maria married Louis-Henry, Count Palatine of Simmern-Kaiserslautern, a union that as meant to bind royals of the Calvinist faith together. The couple was childless.

1730 – Adrienne Lecouvreur (b. 1692) was a French actress who was the most celebrated of her time. Her acting style was known to be more natural and less stylistic. She was known for her romance with Maurice de Saxe and for her death under mysterious circumstances.

1945 – Dorothy Campbell (b. 1883) was an internationally celebrated golfer. She was the first woman to win British, American, and Canadian Women’s Amateurs. Ms. Campbell began practicing the art of golfing at only 18 months.

1972 – Marilyn Maxwell (b. 1921) was an American actress and entertainer. Ms. Maxwell entertained troops during the Second World War and the Korean War along with Bob Hope. A longstanding romance was known to exist between Ms. Maxwell and Bob Hope, prompting the media to call her “Mrs. Bob Hope.”

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